ABC News deemed it, according to George Stephanopoulos, “too ugly” and “too dangerous” and refused to air it. So, Rep. Adam Kinzinger tweeted this Sunday night, allowing us all to see the threatening letter his wife recently received. Sofia in the house where they live with Christian, their 5-month-old son.
He greets her with an obscene sexual insult. Then it gets worse:
“The pimp you married not only broke his vow, he sold his soul.” Yours and Christian too! Adam’s activities not only harmed this country, but also countless patriotic and God-fearing families. Therefore, although it may take time, he will be executed. But don’t worry! You and Christian will also join Adam in Hell!
Asked by Stephanopoulos about the threat Sunday on ABC’s This Week, Kinzinger gave an ominous response. Considering the trajectory of this country, he said: “In the future, we will face violence.”
But the truth is that the violence — the storming of the US Capitol on January 6th by Donald Trump supporters — is the only reason many of us even know the name of Kinzinger. The Illinois congressman is one of only two Republicans (the other being Rep. Liz Cheney) who had the moral fortitude to serve on the House committee investigating this coup attempt. Hence the threats from fellow Republicans.
The 2017 shooting of Republican Party member Steve Scalise and four others, and the arrest this month of a man who allegedly tried to kill conservative Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, rule out any claim that violence is unique to the political right. No, violence remains, as H. Rap Brown said in 1967, “as American as cherry pie.”
But the acceptance of violence, the cultivation of violence, the tacit encouragement of violence have become distinct and disturbing characteristics of Republicans. So January 6th was not an accident. On the contrary, this is exactly what you would expect from a party that favors guns as a remedy for political divisions, a party whose leader explicitly encourages and condone banditry, a party where apparently every candidate for office hosts a TV commercial with firearms. Indeed, former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens is running for the Senate seat with an ad that shows him armed with long guns along with a team in tactical gear as they break into a house. “Today we are going hunting for Rino,” he says.
The acronym stands for Republicans in Name Only, which is not coincidental what Republicans like Greitens call Republicans like Kinzinger. The ad appeared online the day after Kinzinger reported the threats against his family.
This is our norm. Republicans no longer talk about politics or ideas. Republicans only threaten.
Isaac Asimov called violence “the last resort of the incompetent”. But violence – short of self-defense – is also the last refuge of the underdog, the last breath of those who no longer have words, the silent admission of those who know but refuse to admit that they have nothing. If you can’t win the argument, win the fight. Mantra for thugs, hoodlums and other Republicans.
“The future is going to be violence,” Kinzinger said. And it was like someone saying, “There will be a storm in the future,” when the rain lashes the window and the garden furniture rushes around the yard.
Yes, things could get a lot worse. However, they are already quite bad. One of our two main political parties is a threat to the nation itself. And in the absence of a radical course correction, it seems likely that there is a future of decay, a future of pain, a future of regret.
But violence? It’s already here.
Leonard Pitts Jr. is a columnist for the Miami Herald. © 2022 Miami Herald. Distributed by content agency Tribune.